“Summon up Remembrance” is the story of Ali-Kuli Khan, told by his daughter, Marzieh Gail:
Among the prominent Baha’i teachers of that day was Mirza Asadu’llah of Isfahan. He was a brother-in-law of the Master Himself, married to Munirih Khanum’s sister, and lived in ‘Akka with his wife and children. Khan had often met him as he traveled and taught in Persia. Around 1898, on the teacher’s last visit, Khan had attended meetings in Tehran where he spoke.
Khan had also learned from a confidential source that during this visit Mirza Asadu’llah had been entrusted with a secret mission by ‘Abdu’l-Baha. This assigned task was to meet with certain Persian Baha’is and receive from them a box containing the holy remains of the Bab, carefully hidden ever since His body and that of His companion, crushed by the bullets into a single mass, had been cast out Onto the edge of the moat at Tabriz on the day of the martyrdom (July 9, 1850) and removed by the faithful in the middle of the second night. To protect the sacred dust from the ever-watchful mullas of Shiah Islam, the remains had been concealed in one place after another: here in a private home, there in a shrine, finally in and near the capital, until 1899. Let alone the mullas, the believers themselves were also a danger to the holy remains, because they were irresistibly drawn in great crowds to whatever spot was rumored to be the hiding place.
When Mirza Asadu’llah, together with his son Aminu’llah, later known as Dr Farid, was on his way back from Persia and, still obligated to exercise the greatest precaution, had stopped in Beirut, he called in six other believers, so that there would be eight with himself and his son, and had a group photograph taken, together with the sacred box. Beneath the group he wrote this verse from the Qur’an: ‘…on that day eight shall bear up the throne of thy Lord.’ This photograph Mirza Asadu’llah showed about everywhere, and the believers rewarded him with funds.
That very year, however, ‘Abdu’l-Baha had, in a Tablet, interpreted this verse, from the Surih of ‘the Inevitable’. The Master’s words were to this effect: that the throne is the temple or body of the Manifestation of God, and that the Manifestation is symbolized by the number one. And according to the abjad reckoning—the numerical value of the component letters, used everywhere by Persian and Arabic scholars—’Baha”is eight plus one. (‘B’ in the abjad is two, the short vowel is not written in, the ‘h’ is five, the long vowel is one, and the symbol called a hamza, represented by the apostrophe, is also one.) The verse thus means: on that day Baha will bear up the throne (the body) of thy Lord. On that day eight will bear up one.
Khan had already studied this Tablet when he was back in Persia. He was therefore amazed to see Mirza Asadu’llah’s fabricated fulfillment of the verse, a statement entirely other than that revealed by the Interpreter appointed by Baha’u’llah. There were the eight of them, standing behind the coffin containing the Throne—body—of the Bab, as self-created fulfillers of the prophecy. And furthermore, this act of his violated the requirement for extreme secrecy on the mission.
From that day on, Khan became suspicious of the renowned Mirza Asadu’llah.
One day when no one else was by, he mentioned this to ‘Abdu’l-Baha and would have gone further into his doubts of the Mirza’s loyalty. But the Master stopped him.
‘No, no!’ He said, smiling. ‘Mirza Asadu’llah is a philosopher, a metaphysician! No, this is not the time to say anything further about him!’.